Ecola

July 25th, 2005  |  Published in old and busted  |  2 Comments

Last weekend’s adventure involved our aborted attempt to make it to Ecola and the Clatsop Loop Trail. This week we finally made it. It was a study in contrasts.

We were underway before 10:30, traffic was much more mild (maybe because it wasn’t as crazy hot in the city), and we had a gameplan to hit the trail as quickly as possible. No stops through Cannon Beach to eat at the wrong place or anything.

Ecola State Park is a lovely place. The main gate is back off a winding, smooth road under thick canopy. The second you pull into a parking lot, the ocean is spread out in front of you.

Ecola Clatsop Loop Trail Elevation ProfileWe hit the trail pretty quickly. I had Ben on my back in his new carrier. The brochure warned that the trail was steep, and we felt that. I was glad we brought along the walking sticks, but even with those helping it was, um, “brisk” getting to the peak of the trail. I retraced it in Topo! once we got home and I had a chance to upload the GPS records, so that picture is the elevation profile Topo spat back. It says we gained over 700′ from the trail entrance to the peak, which was very near the middle of the two mile loop.

Tillamook Rock LighthouseFortunately there are a lot of interesting stops along the way with explanations of what you’re looking at in a companion map, so pauses with dignity were possible. I can’t recommend the Kelty carrier highly enough. Ben was pretty stimulated by all the flowers and scenery and white butterflies fluttering around the trail, so he shifted from side to side most of the way up and down, and it didn’t enter my mind as anything other than being aware he was moving. In the last carrier, that kind of motion would have been pretty stressful and it would have messed with my balance.

At the top of the trail there’s a small hiker’s camp with several log cabins, a picnic pavillion and a fire ring. Each cabin has four bunks and an open door. A man and his dog were up there when we walked through. Judging from the water cube and general sense of settledness, I think he might have made more than one provisioning trip.

Up to the top of the trail, it’s not exactly a trail. More of a gravel path wide enough for several people to walk abreast. Once you hit the top of the trail, though, the canopy closes in and it’s much more of a forest trail over to the cliffs and back down to Indian Beach. It was nice to spend the heat of the day (as much as there is a “heat of the day” on the coast) walking under trees.

We got a nice view of the Tillamook Lighthouse and saw a giant fallen tree. There are massive sitka spruces all over the place there, hundreds and hundreds of years old.

Ben InvestigatesOnce we were done with the trail, we took Ben out of the carrier and let him play on Indian Beach for a little while. As usual muddy, gloppy sand was his favorite. He played in the water of a small rivulet of water feeding down to the ocean, and Al had to hold on to his beltloop to keep him from squirming into the stream.

We hit the road after we got Ben into dry clothes and made a stop at Camp 18 for lunch. I didn’t take many pictures there (I got a lot last time), but I was pretty intrigued by the Pulley Bird, which somehow escaped my notice last time. Ben slept most of the way back, waking up once we were just hitting downtown.

So … pretty much a perfect Sunday. The hiking experience with Ben’s carrier was good enough that I think I’ll be able to deal with a Ramona Falls hike, which is a pretty gentle climb and maybe six miles round trip depending on the trail taken. We’ll have to pack a lunch in and enjoy the falls for a while once we get there.

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